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Girolamo Fagiuoli

(active in Bologna and Rome, died 1574 in Bologna)

Anchora Inparo (I Am Still Learning). Engraving. 41.6 x 29.9 cm. 1538. Bartsch XIV, 302, 400; The Illustrated Bartsch, 27 (14), Part 2, pp. 93, 400 (302). Watermark: Tulips in circle with six-pointed star (Woodward 121–22, Rome 1558).

This curious picture shows an old man with a long beard who is moving forward with difficulty in a child’s walking frame, while an hour glass shows how little time is left to him. In 16th century Italy the cryptic heading Anchora Inparo ("I am still learning") was a popular motto that is illustrated here with satirical intent. A similar idea is expressed by the inscription in the lower margin that goes back to Seneca: "Keep learning as long as you live, from boyhood to old age" (Epistulae, 76.2).

Adam von Bartsch attributed the invention of this rare engraving to Baccio Bandinelli and named Agostino Veneziano as the possible author of the print. Just recently, however, Suzanne Boorsch has convincingly given this print to Girolamo Fagiuoli, who made several engravings for the Roman publisher Antonio Salamanca between 1535 and 1538 and was praised by Vasari as an engraver and stamp-cutter. The print was probably done after a drawing by Domenico Giuntalodi. The plain and disciplined engraving technique, which displays a preference for parallel lines and simple cross-hatching, is characteristic of Fagiuoli’s formal language (see Suzanne Boorsch, Salviati and Prints: The Question of Fagiuoli, in: Francesco Salviati et la Bella Maniera, Rome 2001, pp. 499–518).

A very fine, harmonious and even impression, trimmed to the platemark at three sides, respectively trimmed just within the blank upper margin above. Minor defects, otherwise in excellent condition.

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